Alex Albon has said he believes he still has a shot at returning to Formula One with Red Bull or Scuderia AlphaTauri.
The Thai driver had a lacklustre 2020 campaign during which he was comprehensively outperformed by team-mate Max Verstappen – and he was dropped by the team in December.
Albon will serve as Red Bull’s test and reserve driver this upcoming season, while also contesting DTM races which don’t clash with his F1 duties.
Commenting on his future, Albon said he thinks Red Bull still have faith in him and he could well return to Formula One in 2022.
“Obviously there’s no actual [F1] driving [this year] unless something happens,” the Thai driver said.
“I’ve got the DTM gig which I’ll do to the best of my ability, and on top of that the team knows what I’m capable of. They would have gotten rid of me – let’s be truthful – if they didn’t believe in me.
“So on my side I know they still trust me, they still have faith in what I can do and we just have to see how things work out during this year and going into next year,” Albon added.
Continuing, he said he feels like he made progress over the course of 2020 and is looking forward to helping Red Bull develop their 2021 challenger, the RB16B.
“Firstly, I was slightly down on experience [last season] – that’s one thing I can say.
“It felt like during the year, working with my engineer, we were just getting an understanding of what needed to be done to get the performance out of it.
“That was just an ongoing process. It felt like things were definitely clicking more and more towards the end of year.
“Maybe some results weren’t great, but the general path was improvement. As I said, I won’t be in the car as much this year, but what I can do is learn.
“I will be at the track every race, so I can at least understand from an engineering side of it how the team operates on a more in-depth scale, but it was also just about being on top of the car.
“It wasn’t an easy car last year, and part of me knows for a fact that if I could have been more comfortable with it, the performance would have been much stronger.
“It’s kind of what I’m doing right now, for this RB16B, it is about making the car better. That’s been a lot of the stuff I’ve been doing over the winter,” Albon concluded.
Last week, Perez echoed Albon’s comments about Red Bull’s car being tricky to drive, saying it requires a “peculiar driving style” to get the most out of it.
“One of the things that caught my attention in the simulator and then the car is the level of grip at the front end – it’s very high,” Perez said.
“I can immediately understand why not all drivers can optimise this car. It is not easy to extract the best from it, but if you do find that window, which is difficult to find, you can be quite fast.”
“It’s a car that requires quite a peculiar driving style. Very specific. But it is a super car,” the Mexican added.